The Who to Headline Isle of Wight Fest

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Isle-of-Wight-Festial-2016The official end of The Who as a touring band is close: May 29. But live shows by The Who aren’t quite over yet as they announced their fourth time headlining the U.K.’s legendary Isle of Wight Festival. The first fest of Great Britain’s summer music season takes place June 9th to 12th, with The Who on Saturday, June 11th.

Who guitarist/songwriter Pete Townshend’s most recent comments on the classic rock band’s future regarding live performances – that we reported here – sounded quite definitive. “We might do occasional shows, but we won’t be touring again.” The Isle of Wight appearance – admittedly, not long after The Who Hits 50! tour plays its final rescheduled date – does seem to leave a door open for the superstar group to play further. Devoted fans who have seen the group’s triumphant 2015/2016 concerts (count BCB staff firmly among them; see below) certainly hope that “occasional shows” will be a regular occurrence well into the future.

The Wight fest also features another classic rock megastar band we thought we’d lost as a headliner: Queen with Adam Lambert singing. Its eclectic 2016 line-up includes Mike + The Mechanics, Iggy Pop, Status Quo, Adam Ant, Buzzcocks, The Corrs, The Damned and many others.

The Isle of Wight fest in both its early and later revived incarnations figure significantly in The Who’s legacy. Their first appearance at what was the second Wight fest in 1969 was a “great concert” Townshend later said and welcome ameliorative for the band’s unhappiness over their earlier show at Woodstock that summer. The foursome returned to the festival the following year – both times Tommy was a significant part of their repertoire – for another historical show heard on their Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 CD/DVD package released in 1996. They played the new Wight fest in 2004 (also when the late David Bowie last played England).

Isle of Wight festival organizer John Giddings described The Who as “part of the fabric” of the event. “It’s great to welcome them back to the island as part of their ongoing 50th anniversary celebrations.”

Best Classic Bands Staff

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